7 Tips for Hanging a Gallery Wall + Free Printables (and a sneak peek into my apartment!)

August 15, 2016 15 Comments

As a photographer and friend of a lot of artsy people, I have quite a collection of photographs and artwork from the past few years and haven’t really had room to hang it all up. Since I just moved into my new apartment, I was really excited to have such a huge, empty wall in my living room to work with. So I set out to create a gallery wall! A gallery wall is basically just a large wall with lots of pieces of artwork instead of just one or two pieces. I wanted my wall to be a little cohesive and since I love traveling so much (and have a ton of photographs from my travels), I decided to make it travel themed (with lots of Scandinavian inspiration since I’m a tad obsessed).

I’m really happy with how my gallery wall turned out, so I decided to create a post with tips I’ve learned for anyone else who wants to create a gallery wall!

Gallery Wall graphic2

Tip #1: Decide what kind of gallery wall you want

Do you want it neat and orderly with all the frames matching, or do you want it more whimsical? Or do you want a gallery wall of objects instead of pictures, like Found in Philadelphia’s silver tray gallery wall? Since I already had a lot of artwork to work with and it didn’t match, I went with a more whimsical theme with lots of different types of frames and sizes. You can also switch up the shape of frames or add 3D objects to add some variety. I only had a round clock to add a different shape to mine, but I’m looking for more pieces to add!

I also wanted my wall to be a little cohesive, so I didn’t choose too many different colored frames. I stuck with white and black with a few hot pink frames for my less colorful prints, and I mostly had 4×6 and 5×7 prints with a couple bigger ones to stand out.

Gallery wall

InteriorsPL has a great graphic with different types of layouts!

Tip #2: Collect your artwork and plan it out before you start hanging things up

Since I knew ahead of time that I would have a huge wall to work with, I started compiling the photographs and artwork that I wanted to use. I also found a ton of cute travel-themed printables to add to it (I have the links for you at the bottom!). Collecting everything will give you an idea of how spaced out everything will be and exactly what direction you want to take your gallery wall!

1

My wall is so big that it was hard to photograph it all! 

Tip #3: You don’t need fancy, expensive frames

Since you’ll be using a lot of artwork for a gallery wall, the cost of frames can add up. Unless you want a fancy, elegant wall, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on frames. Other than the pieces I already had framed, I got all my picture frames from Walmart and Ikea! (You can get 4×6 frames in different colors from Ikea for only 99 cents!).

I also got most things printed on matte paper from Walgreens, and they have good prices and sales all the time!

Tip #4: Lay it out

Once you have everything you want to use, create a layout and plan on how you want everything hung up. Lushome has some good tips on the ratio and spacing, and I’ve seen a few posts where people cut out the shapes of their frames on paper and stick them to the wall to really get the layout perfect (Found in Philadelphia has a great example of it).

Tip #5: Have back up plans and solutions

I actually didn’t plan a layout because I didn’t want my to be too neat and orderly and because nailing into my wall was one of the worst experiences ever! Luckily, I was prepared for this because I had hung up some photographs in my hallway beforehand and had the same frustrating experience. Since I knew my wall would be a pain to nail into, I didn’t create a perfect layout because I knew I wouldn’t be able to stick to it. I don’t know what is behind the plaster on my wall, but nails would only go into very specific spots. Even half a centimeter made a difference for whether or not the nail would go in!

I destroyed a ton of nails, so make sure you have extra and be prepared to get a little creative!

2

Tip #6: Hang the bigger pieces up first

Like I said in my previous tip, nails would only go into certain spots with no rhyme or reason. I wanted to make sure my heavier pieces were secure with nails, so I made sure to hang them up first to find the spots where the nails would go in. And any extra holes I made (I made a TON!), I could cover up with the smaller pieces. Since I couldn’t use nails on every spot on the wall (and because I destroyed most of my nails) I used two Command Strips on all my 4×6 frames, and so far they’ve stayed up fine!

Hanging up the larger pieces also helps with spacing so you don’t have to move things around halfway through hanging everything up.

12

Can you spy all my Scandinavian pieces? 😉

13

Tip #7: Leave some wiggle room

Since I’m always taking pictures and have plans to travel more, I left a lot of space so I can add pictures in the future.  If you leave some extra space, you won’t have to worry about the hassle of redoing your gallery wall!

10

All finished! 🙂

It probably took me about an hour and a half to complete my gallery wall by myself (though I suggest having help to make sure everything is straight!), and I’m excited to add more pieces! For more tips and examples of gallery walls, check out Tidbits & Twine, Lushome, Found in Philadelphia, Live Laugh Rowe, and Patch of Earth.

As promised, here are more pictures of my apartment and some of the free printables I used! 🙂 


Mirror3

Can you spy Annika? 😉

Mirror2

Mirror

I got this awesome antique mirror from Room for Love on 17th and Pine!

11

14

15

17

18

19

I’m really enjoying my new apartment! 🙂 If anyone wants moving or decorating tips or wants to know where I got any furnishings, let me know! (Craiglist is a lifesaver!)

Websites for Travel Printables:

American Gypsy Style
Eighteen25
Remodelaholic
Chicfetti
We Lived Happily Ever After
House of Hipsters
Little Gold Pixel
Lost Bumblebee
Oh So Lovely
Katie Pertiet

Bonus! Websites for Kitchen Printables:

Houseful of Handmade
Bre Purposed
Little Gold Pixel

If you’re interested in any of my photographs, contact me! (I also have an Etsy shop and a Facebook page where I sell custom prints and products). If you have any questions about my gallery wall or apartment, comment below! 🙂 

Thanks for sharing my post!
Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on StumbleUpon

Julia

15 Comments

  1. Reply

    Rebecca

    August 15, 2016

    I love gallery walls, it really brings the place to life, plus it’s something for you to look at haha. I think when it’s my time to move out, I’ll try and create my own! x

    http://www.sheintheknow.co.uk

    • Reply

      Julia

      August 15, 2016

      Thanks! Yeah I think they really add a fun element to an apartment!

  2. Reply

    Lola

    August 15, 2016

    I love your travel themed wall!! Thanks so much for rounding up those free printables. I’ve been having trouble finally finishing my wall because I got stuck filling some of the frames without buying prints. I thought I had enough photos etc. from my own travels to fill them all, but turns out I don’t! Free printables might be the perfect solution.

    • Reply

      Julia

      August 15, 2016

      Thanks! 🙂 Yeah it took a little hunting, but there are quite a few websites with really cute free printables! And Zulily and Etsy also have some pretty cheap ones!

  3. Reply

    Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It

    August 16, 2016

    Omg I’m obsessed with your apartment, it’s SOOO cute!! I can’t believe you have a little fireplace too, that’s adorable. Must come visit you when I get back to Philly for the semester! 🙂

    • Reply

      Julia

      August 16, 2016

      Thanks! Yes! You’re welcome to hang out with Annika and me anytime! 🙂

  4. Reply

    Chrystina

    August 17, 2016

    What a great kitchen layout! As a hostess I’m super jealous. And the gallery wall came out great as well!

    • Reply

      Julia

      August 17, 2016

      Thank you! 🙂 Yeah I’m really excited to take advantage of my new kitchen!

  5. Reply

    Karina

    September 8, 2016

    Thank you so much for this post! I’ve just moved into an apartment myself, and a feature wall is on my to do list! This really inspired me! Also, loving your apartment, it’s so cute! X

    • Reply

      Julia

      September 8, 2016

      Thank you! 🙂 I’m glad I could help! Let me know how your wall turns out!

  6. Reply

    Alyse (J.X.L.)

    September 22, 2016

    You did a really great job with the interior of your apartment; I love the touches of blue and the mirror over the fireplace. It looks cozy, beautiful, and importantly, like a retreat when you get home for the day. The gallery wall is a great idea as well!

    Alyse (J.X.L.) | Lumière & Lens

    • Reply

      Julia

      September 23, 2016

      Thank you so much! 🙂

  7. Reply

    Amie Cadwallader

    November 10, 2016

    I love this post! I adore the idea of a hanging gallery, I have a wall filled with photos so I think this might be another thing for me to do soon, thank you so much for the tips!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan | Instagram | BlogLovin | Twitter | Facebook

    • Reply

      Julia

      November 10, 2016

      Thank you! 🙂 I hope it helps you with your future gallery wall!

  8. Reply

    Noelle

    April 19, 2017

    Great post!!!! I need this so much and this will help me not be stress paralyzed at getting things hung up on the wall. The choices you give are wonderful.

LEAVE A COMMENT

RELATED POST